On a wet and windy evening, Tuesday September 26th , members of RTS RoI Centre gathered to host
TV Producer John O‘Regan for a presentation on his wildly popular series Reeling in the Years.
John told us of the show's genesis, its history and its guiding philosophy. He has now produced five series in all, polishing off several awards in the process, and it has been voted The Most Popular Home-Produced TV Show ever, in a poll conducted by the RTÉ Guide, which is in turn the most widely read and distributed periodical in the country.
The seed for the series came from the fairly basic idea of a compilation of archive material with (relevant) music, but quickly grew into something far more wonderful and extraordinary, that tugged at the public‘s heart strings in a way that was quite unique. The key to the success of the series lies in its clever editing, and John, in his thoughtful and eloquent presentation, gave us a master class in the art and craft of editing for TV. This series is entirely made ‘on the bench‘, its raw material being programmes made by other people, and used in ways they might never have dreamt of.
John emphasised his concentration on small events as well as the major headline hitting happenings of each decade, and the ordinary and often anonymous individuals who are the warp and weft of our social history – happy and sad, celebratory and grieving, and going about their daily lives in mundane or adventurous ways. In his presentation he had put together three separate segments, edited to make a particular point about the style and philosophy of the series, and helpfully alerted us to details and effects we might otherwise have missed, in a way which revealed the rhetoric of editing in ways the audience had not experienced before (and they said so, emphatically). Approximately forty people had registered for tickets, and more were expected, but the arrival of Storm Agnes, with its attendant traffic chaos and orange weather warnings, discouraged some of our promised attendance. All who did manage to make it experienced an enthralling night‘s entertainment with exceptional insights into the TV production process.